Lighting + Rehearsal Tracks + Garage Band

*Dusted this one off from old archive post.

Awhile back when I wrote on my blog 3–4 times a week I posted a short article on how I use Garageband Rehearsal tracks to program lighting for each service/event. That post gained a lot of attention and comments. Who knew the simple post you think no one will care about ends up helping quite a few people. Well, I was hoping to repost it, but have deleted it at some point over the past few years. Now, even though I am not our official LD anymore at PC3, I do get the chance to program when Brandon (our Lighting Coordinator now) is out of town or when I just want to get myself behind the console again. So here we go… an updated post on Garageband Rehearsal Tracks.

The Gear

In both our of main auditoriums we have ETC Congo model (Kid & Jr) consoles, which I have come to love personally. This board however is built on linear queues, meaning I program a service from beginning to end, step by step. And 99% of the time this is just fine for us and has created a great “win” for our volunteers each week. Along with the board comes fixtures, which are: ETC (all conventional fixtures); Martin (moving fixtures); Chauvet (LED fixtures).

Processed with VSCOcam

The Process

Each week our Wilmington Campus holds band rehearsal on Wednesday nights for the upcoming Sunday. From that night our Audio Engineer uploads the rehearsal tracks to Planning Center for our entire production team & band to download/listen. On Thursday morning I come in and fire up the lighting rig, haze the room, download the tracks & open up Garageband. The band records the setlist back-to-back after getting ear mixes and rehearsing each song, including transitions which is very helpful. I take all tracks (3 for this weekend) and drop them in Garageband as three tracks side-by-side so it creates one continues setlist. This is helpful for transitions between songs for my cues.

And here comes the major & practically the only reason I use Garageband. The program has a simple loop tool that I use to repeat each section for the song I am working on. This allows me to build each scene while still listening to the section I am creating for. (listen below for the song transition)

So I start from the very beginning of the setlist and make my way through. I average still about 1 to 1 1/2 hours per song and I rarely ever use programming for a song twice. (more on that choice in a future post) I do create a lot of follows when I program, which is when you hit a que that then has a set time to follow to the next cue automatically. This is especially helpful for quick changes in the dark or transition builds in the music.


That is the whole simple idea in a nutshell. This one simple idea though has helped me speed up my program over the years by not having to keep finding where I left off in iTunes.

Well, that is my way of programming, but I would love to hear from anyone else on their style. Hit me up on Twitter for some tips or please feel free to start some conversation below in the comments section.


Five Things Not to Do During Annual Reviews

Over the last two weeks I have had the honor of sitting down with some of my staff to conduct annual reviews. This is always a good time because it gives us a chance to look into the future and not so much the past. And to most this unfortunately sounds wrong because they spend the time informing their staff members of how they have not met expectations and how they can improve on that.

Now I have only been in the position to conduct annual reviews for two years now, but I feel like I have learned a lot in these two years. I am still learning and pushing to get better, but there are a few things I have learned.

Here 5 things that may be causing you problems in your annual review:

1. You Don’t Prepare

Be sure to have some type of structure or review/evaluation sheet to use as you prep for the review. Usually your organization has some form of evaluation form, but if not be sure to create your own. Take the evaluation form and be sure to fill it out completely and spend a decent amount of time thinking back over the past year. This is your moment to “officially” pour into your staff. Do not forget to prep.

2. You Don’t Share Your Expectations Throughout the Year

If you do not share your expectations throughout the year, don’t expect the review to go very well. It’s your job as a leader to lead your staff throughout the entire year by sharing with them when they are meeting expectations/job requirements or not. Believe me, your staff would rather you tell them when they begin to move off course and not at the end the year. Trust that your staff wants to do their best and the way for them to do that is by having one-on-one time throughout the year. Do not forget to share your expectations during the year.

3. You Don’t Let Them Respond

I once sat in a review at an old job while in my early years of college and I was not given one moment to respond and ask questions during my review. The review went for the most part real well, but I did have questions about some of the expectations that I was not meeting. Unfortunately I was not able to get much clarity on the topics and left with not much vision or motivation. Be sure as you share both the strengths and the weakness (aka: opportunities for improvement) you let your staff respond, ask questions, disagree, agree, etc. The point here is to be sure there is a conversation happening during the review. Do not forget to let them respond.

4. You Don’t Let Them Share their Thoughts

This I guess could be part 2 of the above point. At the end of each review I have with my staff I now allow for 30–45 mins of time to be theirs. After we go through my thoughts and structure I open up the time for them to share how they feel. It’s their time to let me know how they feel I am doing & our organization. This may seem backwards during a review session, but believe me this is one of the best times you can have to walk out of your office on the same page. Your staff most likely are very passionate and smart people. They are also the people with their so-called “boots on the ground” in their specific areas. So listen when they show signs of worry, stress, hesitation, etc. What I have learned is just because I am higher up the org chart and been around longer does not mean I have the best idea in the room nor the real-time data like someone who works in the trenches each day. This does not mean you automatically take their ideas and run with them. Just be sure to give their thoughts the weight they deserve. They are most likely carrying out the work you will be putting into play. So do not forget to let them share their thoughts.

5. You Don’t Lose the Desk

This is a simple one. Get out from behind your desk. Move to a coffee table, couches, booth, picnic table, etc. Anything will work other than putting a desk in between you and your staff member. I learned this from my boss/mentor Chris Kuhne. The boss’ desk has some type of stigma with it and it’s best to tear down that barrier. Do not forget to find that coffee table.

This is my first time back at writing, so I apologize for the grammar (which I am terrible at), but I did want to start sharing my thoughts. My favorite author John Maxwell says Leadership is influence, and I want to share what I have learned throughout the years with others. I hope you find this article helpful and if so, feel free to share it with a friend.